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Cops: Theater 'Patron' Asks for Popcorn, Gets Cocaine Bonus

Police say 'patron' was informant sold drugs hidden in popcorn by movie theater manager in Minn.
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 8, 2021 8:30 AM CDT

(Newser) – When movie patrons ask for a Coke to go with their popcorn, they likely don't mean actual coke (i.e., cocaine). But one such "patron" got exactly that in July at Spotlight Theatres in Mankato, Minn. Per the cops, that supposed customer was actually a police informant who was sold the drugs by 39-year-old theater manager Jamie Lynn Hiniker, reports the Free Press. According to a criminal complaint and probable cause affidavit cited by the Smoking Gun, an investigator with the Minnesota River Valley Drug Task Force knew "through previous investigations" that Hiniker worked at the theater, and that there'd been drug sales there, both in an alley behind the venue and inside, with cocaine allegedly stashed inside a popcorn container.

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After a phone call with Hiniker in which it was arranged for the informant to buy $100 worth of cocaine, the informant went to the theater located inside a local mall and approached Hiniker, per the affidavit, which notes: "Hiniker put the cocaine in a popcorn bag. Popcorn was then placed in the bag." Authorities say money was exchanged and that the informant walked away with the popcorn bag, which was given to police, who in turn found the bag to have .406 grams of coke. Hiniker, who was charged with felony drug sales, is said to have a previous rap sheet that includes convictions for theft, DWI, drug possession, and malicious punishment of a child, among others. She faces a maximum 20-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $250,000 if convicted. (Read more weird crimes stories.)

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